Church World Service sets out change agenda for Obama

By staff writers
January 9, 2013

Church World Service (CWS) has urged President Obama to seek increased international assistance for hungry and impoverished people and to lead the way to “fair and generous” immigration reform.

The call came in a 9 January 2013 letter to the White House aimed at bringing attention to major issues of concern for the US churches' humanitarian agency. It was sent by President and CEO John L. McCullough.

Church World Service made recommendations on issues ranging from aid and conflict resolution in the Middle East to policies and actions that reduce tension and increase dialogue between the USA and Cuba.

At the top of the hunger-fighting agency’s agenda is the request that the United States ramp up global efforts to ensure that children receive sufficient nutrition – including nutritional supplements in areas of high malnutrition.

Such initiatives are particularly important for young children because malnutrition in the early years can result in stunted physical growth and poor mental development, CWS says.

In earlier statements, Mr McCullough has called the provision of nutritional assistance to young children, impoverished people and disaster survivors not just an integral part of creating lasting food security, but “an act of faith.”

The agency has also heightened its advocacy for greater world attention and funding for vulnerable children as well as intensifying the nutrition focus of its own food security and agriculture programmes abroad.

The letter also commends President Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative, which directs US international agricultural assistance to small-scale farmers, especially women, as part of a global commitment to increase food security for low income communities across the world.

Mr McCullough also applauded Obama for vowing to pursue immigration reform during the second term. He recommended that the reforms include initiatives aimed at providing a pathway to citizenship, reuniting families and improving the refugee resettlement programme.

The CWS CEO declared: “The highest priority is to create a fair and generous process by which undocumented immigrants can earn lawful permanent residency, with a pathway to citizenship.”

Church World Service, which provides refugee resettlement and immigration legal services, is one of nine national voluntary agencies that work with the federal government and a nationwide network of local agencies to resettle refugees across the United States.

On other issues, Mr McCullough asked the President to set a goal to end hunger within 10 to 15 years; to use the diplomacy and resources necessary to support a “just and sustainable” resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and provide relief for the millions of people suffering inside embattled Syria and the hundreds of thousands forced into neighbouring countries.

* Church World Service:


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